Figure 1. Procyanidin Bj, a catechin-epicatechin dimeric proan-thocyanidin.

Figure 2. Malvidin, a typical Vaccinium anthocyanin. Ru glucose, galactose, and arabinose.

(V. ashei), the total anthocyanin content is 210 mg/100 g in Tifblue berries and 272 mg/100 g in Bluegem berries.

Vaccinium elliotti, with an anthocyanin content of 760 mg/100 g, appears to be the species containing the highest amount of anthocyanins.

In V. japonicum, cyanidin 3-arabinoside (54%) and pe-largonidin 3-arabinoside (39%) have been identified as two main pigments, they total 113 mg/100 g FW. This is the first report of pelargonidin glycosides in the genus Vaccinium.

In the fruit of V. oxycoccus L., or small cranberry, the main pigments present are peonidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-glucoside, accounting for 41.9% and 38.3% of the total anthocyanin content, respectively. This anthocyanin pattern is rather different from that of the American cranberry (V. macrocarpon), which is rich in the 3-galactosides and the 3-arabinosides of peonidin and cyanidin; the total anthocyanin content of the fruit is about 78 mg/100 g FW. All possible combinations of cyanidin, delphinidin, petu-nidin, peonidin, and malvidin 3-galactosides, 3-glucosides, and 3-arabinosides have been found in the bilberry V. myr-tillus. Quantitatively, the delphinidin glycosides are present in the largest quantities, and the peonidin glycosides are the least abundant. Fruit of bilberries from the Piedmont Alps in Italy contain 300-320 mg of anthocyanins/ 100 g FW. Bog whortleberry (V. uliginosum) contains 15 anthocyanins. The 3-glucoside of malvidin comprises the majority of these pigments (35.9%), and the total anthocyanin content is 256 mg/100 g FW. In Norwegian cowberries (V. vitis-idaea L.), the main anthocyanin is represented by cyanidin 3-galactoside (88.0%). The total anthocyanin content is 174 mg/100 g FW.

Phenolic Acids. Vaccinium berries contain a large number of phenolic acids as glycosides (6). The hydroxycin-namic acid derivatives (180-210 mg/100 g FW) are much higher in amount than the hydroxybenzoic derivatives (0.5-2.0 mg/100 g FW).

Simple Phenols. Arbutin (4-hydroxyphenyl-/?-D-gluco-pyranoside) is a hydroquinone glycoside occurring in leaves and fruit (6). In the leaves of V. vitis-idaea, its content ranges from 40 to 90 mg g-1. Its methyl ether, meth-ylarbutin, occurs together with arbutin but in a lower amount.

Volatile Compounds

Several volatile compounds (11,12), including esters, hydrocarbons, aldehydes, ketones, cyclic ether, and sulfur-containing compounds, have been identified in different Vaccinium species, and there are qualitative and quantitative differences among them.

The impact compounds include i-2-hexenal, i-3-hexenol, and linalool in highbush blueberry. The impact character compounds in bilberry are i-2-hexenol, ethyl-3-methylbu-tanoate, and ethyl-2-methylbutanoate. Linalool contributes to the floral, rosy character unique to blueberry fruit, its concentration is less than 1 ppm. In cranberry, benzoic acid derivatives are responsible of the impact flavor character. As many as 50 volatile compounds have been identified in Vaccinium spp., but as many as 200 other compounds still remain unidentified.


Ascorbic acid is the vitamin occurring in highest amount in Vaccinium-, its mean content in cranberry juice is 3 mg/ 100 mL (13,14). The folic acid content is 2.6 /¿g/100 g. The potential vitamin A content ranges from 50 to 100 IU/100 g. Trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin have also been detected.


The metal content includes potassium, sodium, calcium, rubidium, and magnesium, but Vaccinium berries are characterized by a high content of manganese, ranging from 28 to 250 ppm in V. vitis-idaea to 370 ppm in V. myr-tillus (13,14).

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